Here is a quick go-to reference article containing answers to the most common stamp questions. For more detailed answers, click on the link provided after each question.
1) What is my stamp(s) worth?
This has got to be the single most asked question in a stamp dealer’s lifetime! Basically, there are three things you can do.
- Firstly, check the value of your stamps yourself by using a stamp catalogue (such as the Unitrade Specialized Catalogue of Canadian Stamps).
- Secondly, bring your stamps to an experienced dealer for an estimate.
- Thirdly, check what others are selling the same stamp for on the internet (for example, on eBay).
see article: FAQ-What is my stamp worth?
2) How do I sell my stamp collection?
If you are not an experienced collector or philatelist, for example, if you have inherited a stamp collection from a family member, your best and safest bet is to bring the collection to a reputable stamp dealer in the hopes that he/she will be interested in purchasing some, or all, of it. Make sure to call first to make an appointment.
see article: FAQ-How do I sell my stamp collection?
3) Where can I get my stamps?
Admittedly, for the new collector, it was much easier to obtain stamps for free back in the day of our parents or grandparents. Before email and Facebook, more people wrote letters, so it was handy to just get stamps off of the envelopes or postcards we received in the mail.
Nowadays you can shop for your stamps easily on the internet. Most dealers sell special bulk stamp lots as well as rarer, more valuable stamps. Many collectors also advertise on eBay, and let’s not forget to check with local stamp clubs. Many collectors still like to meet and trade stamps at their local stamp club.
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4) How do I remove stamps from envelopes or paper?
For traditional gummed stamps, you should carefully cut around your stamp to remove it from the envelope–leave a good enough margin so that you don’t accidentally cut and damage your stamp. Next, soak your stamp(s) in a bowl of lukewarm water. Keep an eye on them and after 10-15 minutes you should start to see them curl off the paper. Lift them carefully out of the water with tongs–if there’s any resistance when you pull them off the paper, let the stamp soak a little longer
If you’re concerned the colors of your stamp might run (for example, if they were printed with fugitive ink), use stamp remover liquid instead of water and follow the instructions on the bottle.
For self-adhesive stamps, the procedure is much the same, but add a squirt of dish soap to hot water this time–one reader swears by lemon Sunlight (thanks George!).
see articles: FAQ:How can I safely remove gummed stamps from paper?
5) What is the best way to store my stamps?
Stamps must be stored properly or else they will deteriorate quickly and be ruined forever. Store stamps in a stamp album or stockbook specially designed for this purpose. Why? Because they are made from special acid-free paper which will prevent your stamps from getting stained, or yellowing with time.
Also important–store stamps in a cool, dry location, away from direct sunlight. Nothing ruins stamps faster than humidity, extreme temperature fluctuations, or direct light, whether it be sunlight or artificial light.
see articles: FAQ-How to care for your stamps properly?